Developing a Thesis Statement
Many papers you write require developing a thesis statement. In this section you’ll learn what a thesis statement is and how to write one.
Keep in mind that not all papers require thesis statements . If in doubt, please consult your instructor for assistance.
What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement . . .
- Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic.
- Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper.
- Is focused and specific enough to be “proven” within the boundaries of your paper.
- Is generally located near the end of the introduction ; sometimes, in a long paper, the thesis will be expressed in several sentences or in an entire paragraph.
- Identifies the relationships between the pieces of evidence that you are using to support your argument.
Not all papers require thesis statements! Ask your instructor if you’re in doubt whether you need one.
Identify a topic
Your topic is the subject about which you will write. Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic; or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper.
Consider what your assignment asks you to do
Inform yourself about your topic, focus on one aspect of your topic, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts, generate a topic from an assignment.
Below are some possible topics based on sample assignments.
Sample assignment 1
Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II.
Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis
This topic avoids generalities such as “Spain” and “World War II,” addressing instead on Franco’s role (a specific aspect of “Spain”) and the diplomatic relations between the Allies and Axis (a specific aspect of World War II).
Sample assignment 2
Analyze one of Homer’s epic similes in the Iliad.
The relationship between the portrayal of warfare and the epic simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64.
This topic focuses on a single simile and relates it to a single aspect of the Iliad ( warfare being a major theme in that work).
Developing a Thesis Statement–Additional information
Your assignment may suggest several ways of looking at a topic, or it may name a fairly general concept that you will explore or analyze in your paper. You’ll want to read your assignment carefully, looking for key terms that you can use to focus your topic.
Sample assignment: Analyze Spain’s neutrality in World War II Key terms: analyze, Spain’s neutrality, World War II
After you’ve identified the key words in your topic, the next step is to read about them in several sources, or generate as much information as possible through an analysis of your topic. Obviously, the more material or knowledge you have, the more possibilities will be available for a strong argument. For the sample assignment above, you’ll want to look at books and articles on World War II in general, and Spain’s neutrality in particular.
As you consider your options, you must decide to focus on one aspect of your topic. This means that you cannot include everything you’ve learned about your topic, nor should you go off in several directions. If you end up covering too many different aspects of a topic, your paper will sprawl and be unconvincing in its argument, and it most likely will not fulfull the assignment requirements.
For the sample assignment above, both Spain’s neutrality and World War II are topics far too broad to explore in a paper. You may instead decide to focus on Franco’s role in the diplomatic relationships between the Allies and the Axis , which narrows down what aspects of Spain’s neutrality and World War II you want to discuss, as well as establishes a specific link between those two aspects.
Before you go too far, however, ask yourself whether your topic is worthy of your efforts. Try to avoid topics that already have too much written about them (i.e., “eating disorders and body image among adolescent women”) or that simply are not important (i.e. “why I like ice cream”). These topics may lead to a thesis that is either dry fact or a weird claim that cannot be supported. A good thesis falls somewhere between the two extremes. To arrive at this point, ask yourself what is new, interesting, contestable, or controversial about your topic.
As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times . Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.
Derive a main point from topic
Once you have a topic, you will have to decide what the main point of your paper will be. This point, the “controlling idea,” becomes the core of your argument (thesis statement) and it is the unifying idea to which you will relate all your sub-theses. You can then turn this “controlling idea” into a purpose statement about what you intend to do in your paper.
Look for patterns in your evidence
Compose a purpose statement.
Consult the examples below for suggestions on how to look for patterns in your evidence and construct a purpose statement.
- Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis
- Franco turned to the Allies when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from the Axis
Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: Franco’s desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power.
This paper will analyze Franco’s diplomacy during World War II to see how it contributed to Spain’s neutrality.
- The simile compares Simoisius to a tree, which is a peaceful, natural image.
- The tree in the simile is chopped down to make wheels for a chariot, which is an object used in warfare.
At first, the simile seems to take the reader away from the world of warfare, but we end up back in that world by the end.
This paper will analyze the way the simile about Simoisius at 4.547-64 moves in and out of the world of warfare.
Derive purpose statement from topic
To find out what your “controlling idea” is, you have to examine and evaluate your evidence . As you consider your evidence, you may notice patterns emerging, data repeated in more than one source, or facts that favor one view more than another. These patterns or data may then lead you to some conclusions about your topic and suggest that you can successfully argue for one idea better than another.
For instance, you might find out that Franco first tried to negotiate with the Axis, but when he couldn’t get some concessions that he wanted from them, he turned to the Allies. As you read more about Franco’s decisions, you may conclude that Spain’s neutrality in WWII occurred for an entirely personal reason: his desire to preserve his own (and Spain’s) power. Based on this conclusion, you can then write a trial thesis statement to help you decide what material belongs in your paper.
Sometimes you won’t be able to find a focus or identify your “spin” or specific argument immediately. Like some writers, you might begin with a purpose statement just to get yourself going. A purpose statement is one or more sentences that announce your topic and indicate the structure of the paper but do not state the conclusions you have drawn . Thus, you might begin with something like this:
- This paper will look at modern language to see if it reflects male dominance or female oppression.
- I plan to analyze anger and derision in offensive language to see if they represent a challenge of society’s authority.
At some point, you can turn a purpose statement into a thesis statement. As you think and write about your topic, you can restrict, clarify, and refine your argument, crafting your thesis statement to reflect your thinking.
As you work on your thesis, remember to keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Sometimes your thesis needs to evolve as you develop new insights, find new evidence, or take a different approach to your topic.
Compose a draft thesis statement
If you are writing a paper that will have an argumentative thesis and are having trouble getting started, the techniques in the table below may help you develop a temporary or “working” thesis statement.
Begin with a purpose statement that you will later turn into a thesis statement.
Assignment: Discuss the history of the Reform Party and explain its influence on the 1990 presidential and Congressional election.
Purpose Statement: This paper briefly sketches the history of the grassroots, conservative, Perot-led Reform Party and analyzes how it influenced the economic and social ideologies of the two mainstream parties.
If your assignment asks a specific question(s), turn the question(s) into an assertion and give reasons why it is true or reasons for your opinion.
Assignment : What do Aylmer and Rappaccini have to be proud of? Why aren’t they satisfied with these things? How does pride, as demonstrated in “The Birthmark” and “Rappaccini’s Daughter,” lead to unexpected problems?
Beginning thesis statement: Alymer and Rappaccinni are proud of their great knowledge; however, they are also very greedy and are driven to use their knowledge to alter some aspect of nature as a test of their ability. Evil results when they try to “play God.”
Write a sentence that summarizes the main idea of the essay you plan to write.
Main idea: The reason some toys succeed in the market is that they appeal to the consumers’ sense of the ridiculous and their basic desire to laugh at themselves.
Make a list of the ideas that you want to include; consider the ideas and try to group them.
- nature = peaceful
- war matériel = violent (competes with 1?)
- need for time and space to mourn the dead
- war is inescapable (competes with 3?)
Use a formula to arrive at a working thesis statement (you will revise this later).
- although most readers of _______ have argued that _______, closer examination shows that _______.
- _______ uses _______ and _____ to prove that ________.
- phenomenon x is a result of the combination of __________, __________, and _________.
What to keep in mind as you draft an initial thesis statement
Beginning statements obtained through the methods illustrated above can serve as a framework for planning or drafting your paper, but remember they’re not yet the specific, argumentative thesis you want for the final version of your paper. In fact, in its first stages, a thesis statement usually is ill-formed or rough and serves only as a planning tool.
As you write, you may discover evidence that does not fit your temporary or “working” thesis. Or you may reach deeper insights about your topic as you do more research, and you will find that your thesis statement has to be more complicated to match the evidence that you want to use.
You must be willing to reject or omit some evidence in order to keep your paper cohesive and your reader focused. Or you may have to revise your thesis to match the evidence and insights that you want to discuss. Read your draft carefully, noting the conclusions you have drawn and the major ideas which support or prove those conclusions. These will be the elements of your final thesis statement.
Sometimes you will not be able to identify these elements in your early drafts, but as you consider how your argument is developing and how your evidence supports your main idea, ask yourself, “ What is the main point that I want to prove/discuss? ” and “ How will I convince the reader that this is true? ” When you can answer these questions, then you can begin to refine the thesis statement.
Refine and polish the thesis statement
To get to your final thesis, you’ll need to refine your draft thesis so that it’s specific and arguable.
- Ask if your draft thesis addresses the assignment
- Question each part of your draft thesis
- Clarify vague phrases and assertions
- Investigate alternatives to your draft thesis
Consult the example below for suggestions on how to refine your draft thesis statement.
Choose an activity and define it as a symbol of American culture. Your essay should cause the reader to think critically about the society which produces and enjoys that activity.
- Ask The phenomenon of drive-in facilities is an interesting symbol of american culture, and these facilities demonstrate significant characteristics of our society.This statement does not fulfill the assignment because it does not require the reader to think critically about society.
Drive-ins are an interesting symbol of American culture because they represent Americans’ significant creativity and business ingenuity.
Among the types of drive-in facilities familiar during the twentieth century, drive-in movie theaters best represent American creativity, not merely because they were the forerunner of later drive-ins and drive-throughs, but because of their impact on our culture: they changed our relationship to the automobile, changed the way people experienced movies, and changed movie-going into a family activity.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast-food establishments, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize America’s economic ingenuity, they also have affected our personal standards.
While drive-in facilities such as those at fast- food restaurants, banks, pharmacies, and dry cleaners symbolize (1) Americans’ business ingenuity, they also have contributed (2) to an increasing homogenization of our culture, (3) a willingness to depersonalize relationships with others, and (4) a tendency to sacrifice quality for convenience.
This statement is now specific and fulfills all parts of the assignment. This version, like any good thesis, is not self-evident; its points, 1-4, will have to be proven with evidence in the body of the paper. The numbers in this statement indicate the order in which the points will be presented. Depending on the length of the paper, there could be one paragraph for each numbered item or there could be blocks of paragraph for even pages for each one.
Complete the final thesis statement
The bottom line.
As you move through the process of crafting a thesis, you’ll need to remember four things:
- Context matters! Think about your course materials and lectures. Try to relate your thesis to the ideas your instructor is discussing.
- As you go through the process described in this section, always keep your assignment in mind . You will be more successful when your thesis (and paper) responds to the assignment than if it argues a semi-related idea.
- Your thesis statement should be precise, focused, and contestable ; it should predict the sub-theses or blocks of information that you will use to prove your argument.
- Make sure that you keep the rest of your paper in mind at all times. Change your thesis as your paper evolves, because you do not want your thesis to promise more than your paper actually delivers.
In the beginning, the thesis statement was a tool to help you sharpen your focus, limit material and establish the paper’s purpose. When your paper is finished, however, the thesis statement becomes a tool for your reader. It tells the reader what you have learned about your topic and what evidence led you to your conclusion. It keeps the reader on track–well able to understand and appreciate your argument.
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- Developing A Thesis
Think of yourself as a member of a jury, listening to a lawyer who is presenting an opening argument. You'll want to know very soon whether the lawyer believes the accused to be guilty or not guilty, and how the lawyer plans to convince you. Readers of academic essays are like jury members: before they have read too far, they want to know what the essay argues as well as how the writer plans to make the argument. After reading your thesis statement, the reader should think, "This essay is going to try to convince me of something. I'm not convinced yet, but I'm interested to see how I might be."
An effective thesis cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." A thesis is not a topic; nor is it a fact; nor is it an opinion. "Reasons for the fall of communism" is a topic. "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" is a fact known by educated people. "The fall of communism is the best thing that ever happened in Europe" is an opinion. (Superlatives like "the best" almost always lead to trouble. It's impossible to weigh every "thing" that ever happened in Europe. And what about the fall of Hitler? Couldn't that be "the best thing"?)
A good thesis has two parts. It should tell what you plan to argue, and it should "telegraph" how you plan to argue—that is, what particular support for your claim is going where in your essay.
Steps in Constructing a Thesis
First, analyze your primary sources. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication. Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications of the author's argument? Figuring out the why to one or more of these questions, or to related questions, will put you on the path to developing a working thesis. (Without the why, you probably have only come up with an observation—that there are, for instance, many different metaphors in such-and-such a poem—which is not a thesis.)
Once you have a working thesis, write it down. There is nothing as frustrating as hitting on a great idea for a thesis, then forgetting it when you lose concentration. And by writing down your thesis you will be forced to think of it clearly, logically, and concisely. You probably will not be able to write out a final-draft version of your thesis the first time you try, but you'll get yourself on the right track by writing down what you have.
Keep your thesis prominent in your introduction. A good, standard place for your thesis statement is at the end of an introductory paragraph, especially in shorter (5-15 page) essays. Readers are used to finding theses there, so they automatically pay more attention when they read the last sentence of your introduction. Although this is not required in all academic essays, it is a good rule of thumb.
Anticipate the counterarguments. Once you have a working thesis, you should think about what might be said against it. This will help you to refine your thesis, and it will also make you think of the arguments that you'll need to refute later on in your essay. (Every argument has a counterargument. If yours doesn't, then it's not an argument—it may be a fact, or an opinion, but it is not an argument.)
This statement is on its way to being a thesis. However, it is too easy to imagine possible counterarguments. For example, a political observer might believe that Dukakis lost because he suffered from a "soft-on-crime" image. If you complicate your thesis by anticipating the counterargument, you'll strengthen your argument, as shown in the sentence below.
Some Caveats and Some Examples
A thesis is never a question. Readers of academic essays expect to have questions discussed, explored, or even answered. A question ("Why did communism collapse in Eastern Europe?") is not an argument, and without an argument, a thesis is dead in the water.
A thesis is never a list. "For political, economic, social and cultural reasons, communism collapsed in Eastern Europe" does a good job of "telegraphing" the reader what to expect in the essay—a section about political reasons, a section about economic reasons, a section about social reasons, and a section about cultural reasons. However, political, economic, social and cultural reasons are pretty much the only possible reasons why communism could collapse. This sentence lacks tension and doesn't advance an argument. Everyone knows that politics, economics, and culture are important.
A thesis should never be vague, combative or confrontational. An ineffective thesis would be, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because communism is evil." This is hard to argue (evil from whose perspective? what does evil mean?) and it is likely to mark you as moralistic and judgmental rather than rational and thorough. It also may spark a defensive reaction from readers sympathetic to communism. If readers strongly disagree with you right off the bat, they may stop reading.
An effective thesis has a definable, arguable claim. "While cultural forces contributed to the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the disintegration of economies played the key role in driving its decline" is an effective thesis sentence that "telegraphs," so that the reader expects the essay to have a section about cultural forces and another about the disintegration of economies. This thesis makes a definite, arguable claim: that the disintegration of economies played a more important role than cultural forces in defeating communism in Eastern Europe. The reader would react to this statement by thinking, "Perhaps what the author says is true, but I am not convinced. I want to read further to see how the author argues this claim."
A thesis should be as clear and specific as possible. Avoid overused, general terms and abstractions. For example, "Communism collapsed in Eastern Europe because of the ruling elite's inability to address the economic concerns of the people" is more powerful than "Communism collapsed due to societal discontent."
Copyright 1999, Maxine Rodburg and The Tutors of the Writing Center at Harvard University
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Purdue Online Writing Lab College of Liberal Arts
The Writing Process
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These OWL resources will help you with the writing process: pre-writing (invention), developing research questions and outlines, composing thesis statements, and proofreading. While the writing process may be different for each person and for each particular assignment, the resources contained in this section follow the general work flow of pre-writing, organizing, and revising. For resources and examples on specific types of writing assignments, please go to our Common Writing Assignments area.
Writing Task Resource List
This resource will help you find OWL material for the many different kinds of writing tasks you may face in school and in the workplace.
Starting the Writing Process
Tips for how to start a writing assignment.
This section explains the prewriting (invention) stage of the composing process. It includes processes, strategies, and questions to help you begin to write.
Help in overcoming writer's block and a short series of exercises to get you writing.
This resource provides an overview of stasis theory and what you can do with it to help you conduct research, compose documents, and work in teams.
Creating a Thesis Statement
This resource provides tips for creating a thesis statement and examples of different types of thesis statements.
Developing an Outline
This resource describes why outlines are useful, what types of outlines exist, suggestions for developing effective outlines, and how outlines can be used as an invention strategy for writing.
This exercise is useful for either difficult texts that you must read, or as a way to revise your work for organization and clarity.
Proofreading is primarily about searching your writing for errors, both grammatical and typographical, before submitting your paper for an audience (a teacher, a publisher, etc.). Use this resource to help you find and fix common errors.
The Writing Process
- Writing Process
- How to Understand a College Writing Assignment
- Additional Thesis Statement Info
- Paragraph Development
- Intros & Conclusions
- Revising & Editing
- Developing an Effective Thesis
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Chapter 3: The Writing Process, Composing, and Revising
3.1 The Writing Process
Sarah M. Lacy and Melanie Gagich
What is The Writing Process?
Donald M. Murray, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and educator, presented his important article, “Teach Writing as a Process Not Product,” in 1972. In the article, he criticizes writing instructors’ tendency to view student writing as “literature” and to focus our attentions on the “product” (the finished essay) while grading. The idea that students are producing finished works ready for close examination and evaluation by their instructor is fraught with problems because writing is really a process and arguably a process that is never finished.
Murray explains why writing is an ongoing process:
What is the process we [writing instructors] should teach? It is the process of discovery through language. It is the process of exploration of what we know and what we feel about what we know through language. It is the process of using language to learn about our world, to evaluate what we learn about our world, to communicate what we learn about our world. Instead of teaching finished writing, we should teach unfinished writing, and glory in its unfinishedness. (4)
You will find that many college writing instructors have answered Murray’s call to “teach writing as a process” and due to shifting our focus on process rather than product, you will find yourself spending a lot of time brainstorming, drafting, revising, and editing. Embracing writing as a process helps apprehensive writers see that writing is not only about grammatical accuracy or “being a good writer.”
The Writing Process
The most important lesson to understand about the writing process, is that it is recursive, meaning that you need to move back and forth between some or all of the steps; there are many ways to approach this process. Allowing yourself enough time to begin the assignment before it is due, will give you time to move from one step to the other, and back as needed. Perhaps the easiest way to think about this process is as a series of steps that you can move from one to the other and back again.
The Writing Process in 6 Steps
The following steps have been adapted from the work of Paul Eschholz and Alfred Rosa, found in their book Subject & Strategy . The authors focus on discussing writing as a series of steps that can be adapted to meet any writer’s needs; below, the steps have been modified to fit your needs as first-year writers. While reading through the steps below, remember that every writer has a unique approach to the writing process. The steps are presented in such a way that allow for any writer to understand the process as a whole, so that they can feel prepared when beginning a paper. Take special note of all the tips and guidance presented with each step, as well as suggested further reading, remembering that writing is a skill that needs practice: make sure to spend time developing your own connection to each step when writing a paper. You can also watch an introductory video on the steps:
The detailed steps are as follows:
Step 1 – Understand the Assignment
Always read over the entire assignment sheet provided to you by your instructor. Think of this sheet as a contract; by accepting the sheet, you are agreeing to follow all guidelines and requirements that have been provided. This sheet is a direct communication from your instructor to you, laying out every expectation and requirement of an assignment. Follow each to ensure you are conducting and completing the assignment properly.
See Section 3.2 for a closer look at how to use an assignment sheet.
Step 2 – Gather Ideas and Form Working Thesis
Once you understand the assignment, you will need to collect information in order to understand your topic, and decide where you would like the paper to lead. This step can be conducted in various ways. Researching to build content knowledge is always a good place to start this step, so make sure to check out Chapter 8: The Research Process for a more specified look at various research methods.
After you have conducted some research begin brainstorming. You can do this in a variety of ways:
- Free Writing
- Listing ideas
- Generate a list of questions
- Clustering/ Mapping (creating a bubble chart)
- Create a basic outline
Then, you will want to formulate a Working Thesis . A working thesis is different than the thesis found in a final draft : it will not be specific nor as narrowed. Think of a working thesis as the general focus of the paper, helping to shape your research and brainstorming activities. As you will later spend ample time working and re-working a draft, allow yourself the freedom to revise this thesis as you become more familiar with your topic and purpose.
See Section 4.2: Creating a Thesis for more information on thesis statements.
Step 3 – Write a Draft
After completing Steps 1 and 2, you are ready to begin putting all parts and ideas together into a full length draft. It is important to remember that this is a first/rough draft, and the goal is to get all of your thoughts into writing, not generating a perfect draft. Do not get hung up with your language at this point, focus on the larger ideas and content.
Organization is a very important part of this step, and if you have not already composed an outline during Step 2, consider writing one now. The purpose of an outline is to create a logical flow of claims, evidence, and links before or during the drafting process; experiment with outlines to learn when and how they can work for you.
Outlines are great at helping you organize your outside sources, if you need to use some within a particular assignment. Start by generating a list of claims (or main ideas) to support your thesis, and decide which source belongs with each idea, knowing that you may (and should) use your sources more than once, with more than one claim.
Step 4 – Revise the Draft(s)
This is the step in which you are likely to spend the majority of your time. This section is different from simply “editing” or “proof reading” because you are looking for larger context issues; for example, this is when you need to check your topic sentences and transitions, make sure each claim matches the thesis statement, and so on. Return to Steps 1 and 2 as needed, to ensure you are on the right track and your draft is properly adhering to the guidelines of the assignment.
The revision portion of the writing process is also where you will need to make sure all of your paragraphs are fully developed as appropriate for the assignment. If you need to have outside sources present, this is when you will make sure that all are working properly together. If the assignment is a summary, this is when you will need to double check all paraphrasing to make sure it correctly represents the ideas and information of the source text .
It is likely that your professor will instruct you to complete Peer Editing . Learn more about this process in Section 3.4.
Step 5 – Proof-Read/Edit the Draft(s)
Once the larger content issues have been resolved and you are moving towards a final draft, work through the paper looking for grammar and style issues. This step is when you need to make sure that your tone is appropriate for the assignment (for example, you will need to make sure you have remained in a formal tone for all academic papers), that sources are properly integrated into your own work if your assignment calls for them, etc. Consider using the checklist offered in Section 3.6 .
When entering the final step, go back to the assignment sheet, read it over once more in full, and then conduct a close reading. Doing this will help you to ensure you have completed all components of the assignment as per your instructor’s guidance.
Step 6 – Turn in the Draft, Receive Feedback, and Revise (if needed)
Once your draft is completed, turned in, and handed back with edits from your instructor, you may have an opportunity to revise, and turn in again to help raise your grade. As the goal of the FYW class is to improve your writing, this is an essential step to consider so that you get the most out of the course. Ask your instructor for more detail.
Eschholz, Paul and Alfred Rosa. Subject & Strategy: A Writer’s Reader. 11th ed., Bedford/St. Martin, 2007.
Text can refer to the written word: “Proofread your text before submitting the paper.”
A text refers to any form of communication, primarily written or oral, that forms a coherent unit, often as an object of study. A book can be a text, and a speech can be a text, but television commercials, magazine ads, website, and emails can also be texts: “Dieting advertisements formed one of the texts we studied in my Sociology class.”
A Guide to Rhetoric, Genre, and Success in First-Year Writing by Sarah M. Lacy and Melanie Gagich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.
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(+234)09062671816, how to write a thesis: steps by step guide.
In the academic world, one of the hallmark rites signifying mastery of a course or academic area is the writing of a thesis . Essentially a thesis is a typewritten work, usually 50 to 350 pages in length depending on institutions, discipline, and educational level which is often aimed at addressing a particular problem in a given field.
While a thesis is inadequate to address all the problems in a given field, it is succinct enough to address a specialized aspect of the problem by taking a stance or making a claim on what the resolution of the problem should be. Writing a thesis can be a very daunting task because most times it is the first complex research undertaking for the student. The lack of research and writing skills to write a thesis coupled with fear and a limited time frame are factors that makes the writing of a thesis daunting. However, commitment to excellence on the part of the student combined with some of the techniques and methods that will be discussed below gives a fair chance that the student will be able to deliver an excellent thesis regardless of the subject area, the depth of the research specialization and the daunting amount of materials that must be comprehended(RE: write a thesis or writing a thesis).
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What is a thesis?
A thesis is a statement, theory, argument, proposal or proposition, which is put forward as a premise to be maintained or proved. It explains the stand someone takes on an issue and how the person intends to justify the stand. It is always better to pick a topic that will be able to render professional help, a topic that you will be happy to talk about with anybody, a topic you have personal interest and passion for, because when writing a thesis gets frustrating personal interest, happiness and passion coupled with the professional help it will be easier to write a great thesis (see you through the thesis). One has to source for a lot of information concerning the topic one is writing a thesis on in order to know the important question, because for you to take a good stand on an issue you have to study the evidence first.
Qualities of a good thesis
A good thesis has the following qualities
- A good thesis must solve an existing problem in the society, organisation, government among others.
- A good thesis should be contestable, it should propose a point that is arguable which people can agree with or disagree.
- It is specific, clear and focused.
- A good thesis does not use general terms and abstractions.
- The claims of a good thesis should be definable and arguable.
- It anticipates the counter-argument s
- It does not use unclear language
- It avoids the first person. (“In my opinion”)
- A strong thesis should be able to take a stand and not just taking a stand but should be able to justify the stand that is taken, so that the reader will be tempted to ask questions like how or why.
- The thesis should be arguable, contestable, focused, specific, and clear. Make your thesis clear, strong and easy to find.
- The conclusion of a thesis should be based on evidence.
Steps in writing a Thesis
- First, think about good topics and theories that you can write before writing the thesis, then pick a topic. The topic or thesis statement is derived from a review of existing literature in the area of study that the researcher wants to explore. This route is taken when the unknowns in an area of study are not yet defined. Some areas of study have existing problems yearning to be solved and the drafting of the thesis topic or statement revolves around a selection of one of these problems.
- Once you have a good thesis, put it down and draw an outline . The outline is like a map of the whole thesis and it covers more commonly the introduction, literature review, discussion of methodology, discussion of results and the thesis’ conclusions and recommendations. The outline might differ from one institution to another but the one described in the preceding sentence is what is more commonly obtainable. It is imperative at this point to note that the outline drew still requires other mini- outlines for each of the sections mentioned. The outlines and mini- outlines provide a graphical over- view of the whole project and can also be used in allocating the word- count for each section and sub- section based on the overall word- count requirement of the thesis(RE: write a thesis or writing a thesis).
- Literature search. Remember to draw a good outline you need to do literature search to familiarize yourself with the concepts and the works of others. Similarly, to achieve this, you need to read as much material that contains necessary information as you can. There will always be a counter argument for everything so anticipate it because it will help shape your thesis. Read everything you can–academic research, trade literature, and information in the popular press and on the Internet(RE: write a thesis or writing a thesis).
- After getting all the information you need, the knowledge you gathered should help in suggesting the aim of your thesis.
Remember; a thesis is not supposed to be a question or a list, thesis should specific and as clear as possible. The claims of a thesis should be definable and also arguable.
- Then collecting and analyzing data, after data analysis, the result of the analysis should be written and discussed, followed by summary, conclusion, recommendations, list of references and the appendices
- The last step is editing of the thesis and proper spell checking.
Structure of a Thesis
A conventional thesis has five chapters – chapter 1-5 which will be discussed in detail below. However, it is important to state that a thesis is not limited to any chapter or section as the case may be. In fact, a thesis can be five, six, seven or even eight chapters. What determines the number of chapters in a thesis includes institution rules/ guideline, researcher choice, supervisor choice, programme or educational level. In fact, most PhD thesis are usually more than 5 chapters(RE: write a thesis or writing a thesis).
Preliminaries Pages: The preliminaries are the cover page, the title page, the table of contents page, and the abstract.
The introduction: The introduction is the first section and it provides as the name implies an introduction to the thesis. The introduction contains such aspects as the background to the study which provides information on the topic in the context of what is happening in the world as related to the topic. It also discusses the relevance of the topic to society, policies formulated success and failure. The introduction also contains the statement of the problem which is essentially a succinct description of the problem that the thesis want to solve and what the trend will be if the problem is not solved. The concluding part of the statement of problem ends with an outline of the research questions. These are the questions which when answered helps in achieving the aim of the thesis. The third section is the outline of research objectives. Conventionally research objectives re a conversion the research questions into an active statement form. Other parts of the introduction are a discussion of hypotheses (if any), the significance of the study, delimitations, proposed methodology and a discussion of the structure of the study(RE: write a thesis or writing a thesis).
The main body includes the following; the literature review, methodology, research results and discussion of the result, the summary, conclusion and recommendations, the list of references and the appendices.
The literature review : The literature review is often the most voluminous aspects of a thesis because it reviews past empirical and theoretical literature about the problem being studied. This section starts by discussing the concepts relevant to the problem as indicated in the topic, the relationship between the concepts and what discoveries have being made on topic based on the choice of methodologies. The validity of the studies reviewed are questioned and findings are compared in order to get a comprehensive picture of the problem. The literature review also discusses the theories and theoretical frameworks that are relevant to the problem, the gaps that are evident in literature and how the thesis being written helps in resolving some of the gaps.
The major importance of Literature review is that it specifies the gap in the existing knowledge (gap in literature). The source of the literature that is being reviewed should be specified. For instance; ‘It has been argued that if the rural youth are to be aware of their community development role they need to be educated’ Effiong, (1992). The author’s name can be at the beginning, end or in between the literature. The literature should be discussed and not just stated (RE: write a thesis or writing a thesis).
The methodology: The third section is a discussion of the research methodology adopted in the thesis and touches on aspects such as the research design, the area, population and sample that will be considered for the study as well as the sampling procedure. These aspects are discussed in terms of choice, method and rationale. This section also covers the sub- section of data collection, data analysis and measures of ensuring validity of study. It is the chapter 3. This chapter explains the method used in data collection and data analysis. It explains the methodology adopted and why it is the best method to be used, it also explains every step of data collection and analysis. The data used could be primary data or secondary data. While analysing the data, proper statistical tool should be used in order to fit the stated objectives of the thesis. The statistical tool could be; the spearman rank order correlation, chi square, analysis of variance (ANOVA) etc (RE: write a thesis or writing a thesis).
The findings and discussion of result : The next section is a discussion of findings based on the data collection instrumentation used and the objectives or hypotheses of study if any. It is the chapter 4. It is research results. This is the part that describes the research. It shows the result gotten from data that is collected and analysed. It discusses the result and how it relates to your profession.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation: This is normally the chapter 5. The last section discusses the summary of the study and the conclusions arrived at based on the findings discussed in the previous section. This section also presents any policy recommendations that the researcher wants to propose (RE: write a thesis or writing a thesis).
References: It cite all ideas, concepts, text, data that are not your own. It is acceptable to put the initials of the individual authors behind their last names. The way single author is referenced is different from the way more than one author is referenced (RE: write a thesis or writing a thesis).
The appendices; it includes all data in the appendix. Reference data or materials that is not easily available. It includes tables and calculations, List of equipment used for an experiment or details of complicated procedures. If a large number of references are consulted but all are not cited, it may also be included in the appendix. The appendices also contain supportive or complementary information like the questionnaire, the interview schedule, tables and charts while the references section contain an ordered list of all literature, academic and contemporary cited in the thesis. Different schools have their own preferred referencing styles(RE: write a thesis or writing a thesis).
Follow the following steps to achieve successful thesis writing
Start writing early. Do not delay writing until you have finished your project or research. Write complete and concise “Technical Reports” as and when you finish each nugget of work. This way, you will remember everything you did and document it accurately, when the work is still fresh in your mind. This is especially so if your work involves programming.
Spot errors early. A well-written “Technical Report” will force you to think about what you have done, before you move on to something else. If anything is amiss, you will detect it at once and can easily correct it, rather than have to re-visit the work later, when you may be pressured for time and have lost touch with it.
Write your thesis from the inside out. Begin with the chapters on your own experimental work. You will develop confidence in writing them because you know your own work better than anyone else. Once you have overcome the initial inertia, move on to the other chapters.
End with a bang, not a whimper. First things first, and save the best for last. First and last impressions persist. Arrange your chapters so that your first and last experimental chapters are sound and solid.
Write the Introduction after writing the Conclusions. The examiner will read the Introduction first, and then the Conclusions, to see if the promises made in the former are indeed fulfilled in the latter. Ensure that your introduction and Conclusions match.
“No man is an Island”. The critical review of the literature places your work in context. Usually, one third of the PhD thesis is about others’ work; two thirds, what you have done yourself. After a thorough and critical literature review, the PhD candidate must be able to identify the major researchers in the field and make a sound proposal for doctoral research. Estimate the time to write your thesis and then multiply it by three to get the correct estimate. Writing at one stretch is very demanding and it is all too easy to underestimate the time required for it; inflating your first estimate by a factor of three is more realistic.
Punctuating your thesis
Punctuation Good punctuation makes reading easy. The simplest way to find out where to punctuate is to read aloud what you have written. Each time you pause, you should add a punctuation symbol. There are four major pause symbols, arranged below in ascending order of “degree of pause”:
- Comma. Use the comma to indicate a short pause or to separate items in a list. A pair of commas may delimit the beginning and end of a subordinate clause or phrase. Sometimes, this is also done with a pair of “em dashes” which are printed like this:
- Semi-colon. The semi-colon signifies a longer pause than the comma. It separates segments of a sentence that are “further apart” in position, or meaning, but which are nevertheless related. If the ideas were “closer together”, a comma would have been used. It is also used to separate two clauses that may stand on their own but which are too closely related for a colon or full stop to intervene between them.
- Colon. The colon is used before one or more examples of a concept, and whenever items are to be listed in a visually separate fashion. The sentence that introduced the itemized list you are now reading ended in a colon. It may also be used to separate two fairly—but not totally—independent clauses in a sentence.
- Full stop or period. The full stop ends a sentence. If the sentence embodies a question or an exclamation, then, of course, it is ended with a question mark or exclamation mark, respectively. The full stop is also used to terminate abbreviations like etc., (for et cetera), e.g., (for exempli gratia), et al., (for et alia) etc., but not with abbreviations for SI units. The readability of your writing will improve greatly if you take the trouble to learn the basic rules of punctuation given above.
Don't forget to contact us for your thesis and other academic assistance
Share this:, 21 thoughts on “how to write a thesis: steps by step guide”.
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The Writing Process
The writing process is something that no two people do the same way. There is no "right way" or "wrong way" to write. It can be a very messy and fluid process, and the following is only a representation of commonly used steps. Remember you can come to the Writing Center for assistance at any stage in this process.
Steps of the Writing Process
Step 1: Prewriting
Think and Decide
- Make sure you understand your assignment. See Research Papers or Essays
- Decide on a topic to write about. See Prewriting Strategies and Narrow your Topic
- Consider who will read your work. See Audience and Voice
- Brainstorm ideas about the subject and how those ideas can be organized. Make an outline. See Outlines
Step 2: Research (if needed)
- List places where you can find information.
- Do your research. See the many KU Libraries resources and helpful guides
- Evaluate your sources. See Evaluating Sources and Primary vs. Secondary Sources
- Make an outline to help organize your research. See Outlines
Step 3: Drafting
- Write sentences and paragraphs even if they are not perfect.
- Create a thesis statement with your main idea. See Thesis Statements
- Put the information you researched into your essay accurately without plagiarizing. Remember to include both in-text citations and a bibliographic page. See Incorporating References and Paraphrase and Summary
- Read what you have written and judge if it says what you mean. Write some more.
- Read it again.
- Write some more.
- Write until you have said everything you want to say about the topic.
Step 4: Revising
Make it Better
- Read what you have written again. See Revising Content and Revising Organization
- Rearrange words, sentences, or paragraphs into a clear and logical order.
- Take out or add parts.
- Do more research if you think you should.
- Replace overused or unclear words.
- Read your writing aloud to be sure it flows smoothly. Add transitions.
Step 5: Editing and Proofreading
Make it Correct
- Be sure all sentences are complete. See Editing and Proofreading
- Correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
- Change words that are not used correctly or are unclear.
- APA Formatting
- Chicago Style Formatting
- MLA Formatting
- Have someone else check your work.
The Writing Process: 6 Steps Every Writer Should Know
You’ve probably heard the saying “good writing is rewriting.” It means good writing requires coming up with ideas, reviewing and organizing them, putting them into a cohesive written work, revisiting your work, editing it, and revising it to make your words stronger. These steps are known as the writing process.
No matter what you’re writing, whether it’s a blog post , a screenplay, a research paper , or a book review , you’ll work through the writing process to turn your rough ideas into a polished, publishable finished piece. Read on to learn more about the writing process’ six steps in detail.
Here’s a tip: Want to make sure your writing shines? Grammarly can check your spelling and save you from grammar and punctuation mistakes. It even proofreads your text, so your work is extra polished wherever you write.
Your writing, at its best Grammarly helps you communicate confidently Write with Grammarly
The writing process actually starts before you put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. The first step is brainstorming .
Depending on the assignment, you may be given a topic or you may have to create one yourself. Do an internet search for the topic you’ll be covering to get a stronger grasp on it and all the potential directions your writing can take.
When you brainstorm, you think deeply about the topic you’ll be covering in your writing and let your mind follow any and every lead it comes across. If you’ve been assigned to write within a fairly broad area, this is the point where you narrow your topic down to a specific thesis statement .
For example, if you’re writing about key events in American history during the Gilded Age, you could decide to focus on the debate surrounding the gold standard that occurred during that time. As you brainstorm, you might zero in further on how it was portrayed in pop culture and decide to write your essay on how L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz represented this debate through specific imagery.
Jot down every idea you have while you brainstorm, even if it’s only tangentially related to your topic. The goal here isn’t to create a coherent piece of writing—it’s to clear a path for your writing.
Brainstorming isn’t just about developing a clear topic and set of supporting content to cover; it’s about determining the most effective way to present your information to your intended audience. Think about the type of writing you’re doing and whom you’re writing it for. A video script that walks your viewers through a specific knitting technique requires a much different tone, structure, and vocabulary than an academic research proposal for your master’s program in marine biology.
Once you have a clear central theme for your writing and a strong grasp on your supporting arguments, it’s time to finesse your brainstorming results into a logical outline.
Preparing to write
The next step in the writing process is preparing to write . In this stage, you’re taking all the ideas, connections, and conclusions you encountered during your brainstorming session and organizing them into an outline .
An outline is basically a skeleton of a finished piece of writing that maps the topics you’ll cover and where each paragraph fits into the piece. It provides a structure that helps ensure your ideas flow logically and clearly. It can be helpful to look at outline templates online, especially if you’ve been assigned a type of writing that you haven’t done before.
Choosing authoritative sources
At this stage, you’ll also identify which sources to use . With certain types of writing, you’ll need to cite your sources. If this is the case for your current assignment, this stage is the point at which you should familiarize yourself with the applicable style guide and its formatting requirements for citations .
Make sure your chosen sources are appropriate for your writing before you decide to use them. For an academic writing assignment, the range of acceptable sources you can use is typically limited to academic articles, government or nonprofit research groups, and, if you’re writing a literature review , the literary works you’re comparing in your writing. With other kinds of writing, appropriate sources are relevant sources. For example, if you’re writing an article about the rising popularity of mushroom-based health supplements, effective sources may include:
- Sale statistics from retailers
- Insight on mushrooms’ health benefits from accredited health experts (think nutritionists, doctors, and other healthcare providers)
- Data from health-supplement industry journals
Your sources’ job is to support your writing . Working with credible sources gives your writing a strong foundation, while weak sources undermine the position your writing takes.
Striking the right tone
This is also the stage where you clarify the tone you’ll use in your work. Usually, figuring out the right tone for your writing is easy—if it’s an essay or another piece of academic writing, it needs a formal tone. If it’s a promotional piece, your tone needs to be engaging and highlight the benefits of whatever you’re promoting. If it’s a cover letter , your tone should be confident, but not arrogant. When you’re unsure about the right tone to use or how to achieve it, do an internet search for examples of the type of writing you’re doing and familiarize yourself with the structure, vocabulary, and overall tones used.
>>Read More: Grammarly’s Tone Suggestions Help You Tailor Your Tone to Your Reader
Writing your first draft
You’re finally ready to write!
Don’t worry about making your writing perfect just yet—at the rough draft stage, your goal is to get words on the page, not to churn out something that’s ready to publish.
Using the outline you created, start building your draft, sentence by sentence and paragraph by paragraph.
Here’s a secret a lot of writers don’t realize: You don’t have to write your rough draft from start to finish . If you know exactly what you want to say in your third supporting paragraph but you’re not quite sure how to hook readers in your intro , write that third supporting paragraph and come back to the intro later. When you reach a challenging spot in your writing, it’s easy to get stuck there and waste a lot of time trying to figure out what to write. Save yourself the time and stress by writing the easiest parts first, then moving onto the tougher spots.
Doing it this way can also make those tough spots a lot less daunting because it reduces them from big, scary holes to fill up to small blanks to fill in.
Editing and revising
Once you have a completed rough draft, the next step in the writing process is to shape it into a final draft. This is known as editing .
As you move through the writing process, you’ll employ different kinds of editing . At this stage, you’re content editing , line editing , and copy editing . Later, you’ll proofread your work and, depending on the content you’re covering, you might fact-check it as well.
In some cases, you’re totally on your own with editing. In others, editing your work involves incorporating feedback an editor or instructor left on your first draft. When you’re facing the latter scenario, be sure to read the feedback carefully and address or incorporate all of it .
Edit with fresh eyes
Before you edit, give your work time to “cool off.” In other words, don’t jump from writing the first draft to editing it unless you’re crunched for time and you absolutely must. By taking time between writing and editing, you’re giving yourself some distance from your work. This enables you to view it with “fresh eyes” and catch mistakes and areas for improvement more easily than you would if you hadn’t created that distance.
With fresh eyes, look for:
- Logical inconsistencies or fallacies
- Inconsistent and inappropriate tone
- Areas where your writing can be made more concise
- Opportunities to replace words with more effective synonyms
- Confusing phrases and sentences
One way to easily find areas where you can make your writing stronger is to read it aloud. By listening to the rhythm of your writing, you can hear words that feel out of place, awkward transitions, redundant phrases, inconsistent tenses and tone, and points where you need more (or less) detail.
For example, you might find you used language that’s too formal for your blog post that’s making your writing seem stiff and boring. Instead of “the balloon was inflated,” try “we blew up the balloon.”
Or you might find your writing contains redundant phrasing, such as “In my opinion, I think that’s a problem.” Change this to “That’s a problem” to make your writing more direct and concise.
If the piece you’re writing is meant to be read aloud, like a speech or a presentation, this part of the editing process is mandatory .
Pay attention to how effectively your supporting arguments prove and strengthen your thesis statement. Even if the piece you’re writing doesn’t have a formal thesis statement, it has a central theme or argument. The goal of editing and revising your work is to optimize your writing to make that central theme as clear and powerful as possible.
This is also the stage where Grammarly can really help you out. Not only does the Grammarly Editor catch typos and grammar mistakes, but it can also detect your tone and make word choice suggestions based on your specific writing goals.
Here’s a tip: You don’t have to guess whether you’re using certain words correctly or breaking grammar rules in your writing. Just copy and paste your writing to check your grammar and get instant feedback on whether your sentences have misspellings, punctuation errors, or any structural mistakes.
Once you’re finished editing, it’s time to revise your draft into its final version. This is the process of implementing all the changes you noted during the editing process.
Proofreading your final draft
The last stage of the writing process is proofreading your final draft . At this stage, you’re finished writing, but you’re not quite ready to hand in your assignment.
Proofreading is one last lookover to catch any spelling mistakes, grammar errors, typos, formatting errors, or incorrect structure or syntax . Unless something is egregiously wrong, you’re not changing any of your content—you’re simply double-checking that everything is grammatically correct. Ideally, you have enough time to proofread your work with fresh eyes.
After you’ve proofread your work, give it one last pass through Grammarly. Grammarly can catch any last-minute mistakes that slip past you and help you avoid embarrassing, easily fixable errors in your work.
Publishing your finished work
Your work is ready to be shared with the world!
What it means to publish your work depends on the type of writing you’re doing. If it’s a blog post, a story you’re self-publishing, a video you’ve written and shot, or anything else where you’re the publisher as well as the writer, this stage is essentially you uploading your own work and making it available to others. If you just completed an academic assignment or a commissioned piece for a journal, blog, or another outlet to which you’re a contributor, this step is when you send it off to your professor or editor. Publishing can also mean submitting your work to an academic journal, querying your novel, or delivering a finished piece of content to your client.
No matter what publishing means for your particular piece, take a moment to celebrate. You wrote something and now, people are going to read it.
This article was originally written in 2019 by Jennifer Calonia. It’s been updated to include new information.
Please note that Internet Explorer version 8.x is not supported as of January 1, 2016. Please refer to this support page for more information.
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Nurse Education in Practice
Original research nursing students’ expectations of the process of writing a bachelor’s thesis in sweden: a qualitative study.
Students’ expectations revealed diverse needs not accessed by feedback surveys.
Bachelor’s thesis represents a competence-enhancing work for nursing students.
Finding a scientific topic to write about is expressed as critical by the students.
The task of bachelor’s thesis being new in the program confuse students.
Students’ expectations should be on agendas of academic theses’ policies planning.
While performing various academic work, such as writing a bachelor’s thesis, are known to be challenging for university students, less is known about students’ expectations in this regard.
The aim was to describe students’ expectations of the upcoming process of writing a bachelor’s thesis.
The study employed an explorative, qualitative approach with a single, written open-ended question design.
The data were collected consecutively 2013–2016 in class. A total of 93 final-year students volunteered and provided hand-written accounts which were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
The students’ accounts revealed three generic categories of expectations: Gaining professional knowledge and competency , Planning and organizing the work, and Taking stock of personal resources . Writing a bachelor’s thesis was a new challenge for most of the students and the answers testify to mixed feelings about the upcoming work and its supervision.
The nursing students’ expectations included present and future competencies, skills and abilities. In promoting development of transferable skills and knowledge, educators of future health-care professionals would be well advised to invite students to reflect on and discuss, their expectations prior to writing a bachelor’s thesis and similar academic student papers. This study adds to the research on students’ studying and learning in nursing education by bringing to the fore students’ expectations of academic learning tasks as an important aspect to consider in higher education contexts, both nationally and internationally.
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How to Write a Master's Thesis: A Guide to Planning Your Thesis, Pursuing It, and Avoiding Pitfalls
Part 1: Initial Considerations
Who needs to write a master’s thesis.
Thesis writing is one of the more daunting challenges of higher education. That being said, not all master's students have to write a thesis. For example, fields that place a stronger emphasis on applied knowledge, such as nursing, business, and education, tend to have projects and exams to test students on the skills and abilities associated with those fields. Conversely, in disciplines that require in-depth research or highly polished creative abilities, students are usually expected to prove their understanding and independence with a thesis.
What's Your Goal?
Do you want to write a thesis? The process is a long one, often spanning years. It's best to know exactly what you want before you begin. Many people are motivated by career goals. For example, hiring managers may see a master's degree as proof that the candidate is an expert within their field and can lead, motivate, and demonstrate initiative for themselves and others. Others dream of earning their doctorate, and they see a master's degree as a stepping stone toward their Ph.D .
No matter what your desired goal is, you should have one before you start your thesis. With your goal in mind, your work will have a purpose, which will allow you to measure your progress more easily.
Major Types of Theses
Once you've carefully researched or even enrolled in a master's program—a feat that involves its own planning and resources —you should know if you are expected to produce a quantitative (which occurs in many math and science programs), qualitative (which occurs in many humanities programs), or creative (which occurs in many creative writing, music, or fine arts programs) thesis.
Time and Energy Considerations
Advanced degrees are notoriously time and energy consuming. If you have a job, thesis writing will become your second job. If you have a family, they will need to know that your thesis will take a great deal of your attention, energy, and focus.
Your studies should not consume you, but they also should not take a back seat to everything else. You will be expected to attend classes, conduct research, source relevant literature, and schedule meetings with various people as you pursue your master's, so it's important to let those you care about know what's going on.
As a general note, most master's programs expect students to finish within a two-year period but are willing to grant extra time if requested, especially if that time is needed to deal with unexpected life events (more on those later).
Part 2: Form an Initial Thesis Question, and Find a Supervisor
When to begin forming your initial thesis question.
Some fields, such as history, may require you to have already formed your thesis question and to have used it to create a statement of intent (outlining the nature of your research) prior to applying to a master’s program. Others may require this information only after you've been accepted. Most of the time, you will be expected to come up with your topic yourself. However, in some disciplines, your supervisor may assign a general research topic to you.
Overall, requirements vary immensely from program to program, so it's best to confirm the exact requirements of your specific program.
What to Say to Your Supervisor
You will have a supervisor during your master's studies. Have you identified who that person will be? If yes, have you introduced yourself via email or phone and obtained information on the processes and procedures that are in place for your master's program? Once you've established contact, request an in-person meeting with him or her, and take a page of questions along with you. Your questions might include:
- Is there a research subject you can recommend in my field?
- I would like to pursue [target research subject] for my thesis. Can you help me narrow my focus?
- Can you give me an example of a properly formatted thesis proposal for my program?
Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help (to a Degree)
Procedures and expectations vary from program to program, and your supervisor is there to help remove doubt and provide encouragement so you can follow the right path when you embark on writing your thesis. Since your supervisor has almost certainly worked with other graduate students (and was one at some point), take advantage of their experience, and ask questions to put your mind at ease about how to write a master’s thesis.
That being said, do not rely too heavily on your supervisor. As a graduate student, you are also expected to be able to work independently. Proving your independent initiative and capacity is part of what will earn you your master's degree.
Part 3: Revise Your Thesis
Read everything you can get your hands on.
Whether you have a question or need to create one, your next step is simple and applies to all kinds of theses: read.
Seek Out Knowledge or Research Gaps
Read everything you can that relates to the question or the field you are studying. The only way you will be able to determine where you can go is to see where everyone else has been. After you have read some published material, you will start to spot gaps in current research or notice things that could be developed further with an alternative approach. Things that are known but not understood or understood but not explained clearly or consistently are great potential thesis subjects. Addressing something already known from a new perspective or with a different style could also be a potentially valuable project. Whichever way you choose to do it, keep in mind that your project should make a valuable contribution to your field.
Talk with Experts in Your Field (and Don't Be Afraid to Revise Your Thesis)
To help narrow down your thesis topic, talk to your supervisor. Your supervisor will have an idea of what is current in your field and what can be left alone because others are already working on it. Additionally, the school you are attending will have programs and faculty with particular areas of interest within your chosen field.
On a similar note, don't be surprised if your thesis question changes as you study. Other students and researchers are out there, and as they publish, what you are working on can change. You might also discover that your question is too vague, not substantial enough, or even no longer relevant. Do not lose heart! Take what you know and adjust the question to address these concerns as they arise. The freedom to adapt is part of the power you hold as a graduate student.
Part 4: Select a Proposal Committee
What proposal committees are and why they're useful.
When you have a solid question or set of questions, draft a proposal.
You'll need an original stance and a clear justification for asking, and answering, your thesis question. To ensure this, a committee will review your thesis proposal. Thankfully, that committee will consist of people assigned by your supervisor or department head or handpicked by you. These people will be experts who understand your field of study and will do everything in their power to ensure that you are pursuing something worthwhile. And yes, it is okay to put your supervisor on your committee. Some programs even require that your supervisor be on your committee.
Just remember that the committee will expect you to schedule meetings with them, present your proposal, respond to any questions they might have for you, and ultimately present your findings and thesis when all the work is done. Choose those who are willing to support you, give constructive feedback, and help address issues with your proposal. And don't forget to give your proposal a good, thorough edit and proofread before you present it.
How to Prepare for Committee Meetings
Be ready for committee meetings with synopses of your material for committee members, answers for expected questions, and a calm attitude. To prepare for those meetings, sit in on proposal and thesis defenses so you can watch how other graduate students handle them and see what your committee might ask of you. You can even hold rehearsals with friends and fellow students acting as your committee to help you build confidence for your presentation.
Part 5: Write Your Thesis
What to do once your proposal is approved.
After you have written your thesis proposal and received feedback from your committee, the fun part starts: doing the work. This is where you will take your proposal and carry it out. If you drafted a qualitative or quantitative proposal, your experimentation or will begin here. If you wrote a creative proposal, you will now start working on your material. Your proposal should be strong enough to give you direction when you perform your experiments, conduct interviews, or craft your work. Take note that you will have to check in with your supervisor from time to time to give progress updates.
Thesis Writing: It's Important to Pace Yourself and Take Breaks
Do not expect the work to go quickly. You will need to pace yourself and make sure you record your progress meticulously. You can always discard information you don't need, but you cannot go back and grab a crucial fact that you can't quite remember. When in doubt, write it down. When drawing from a source, always create a citation for the information to save your future self time and stress. In the same sense, you may also find journaling to be a helpful process.
Additionally, take breaks and allow yourself to step away from your thesis, even if you're having fun (and especially if you're not). Ideally, your proposal should have milestones in it— points where you can stop and assess what you've already completed and what's left to do. When you reach a milestone, celebrate. Take a day off and relax. Better yet, give yourself a week's vacation! The rest will help you regain your focus and ensure that you function at your best.
How to Become More Comfortable with Presenting Your Work
Once you start reaching your milestones, you should be able to start sharing what you have. Just about everyone in a graduate program has experience giving a presentation at the front of the class, attending a seminar, or watching an interview. If you haven't (or even if you have), look for conferences and clubs that will give you the opportunity to learn about presenting your work and become comfortable with the idea of public speaking. The more you practice talking about what you are studying, the more comfortable you'll be with the information, which will make your committee defenses and other official meetings easier.
Published authors can be called upon to present at conferences, and if your thesis is strong, you may receive an email or a phone call asking if you would share your findings onstage.
Presenting at conferences is also a great way to boost your CV and network within your field. Make presenting part of your education, and it will become something you look forward to instead of fear.
What to Do If Your Relationship with Your Supervisor Sours
A small aside: If it isn't already obvious, you will be communicating extensively with others as you pursue your thesis. That also means that others will need to communicate with you, and if you've been noticing things getting quiet, you will need to be the one to speak up. Your supervisor should speak to you at least once a term and preferably once a week in the more active parts of your research and writing. If you give written work to your supervisor, you should have feedback within three weeks.
If your supervisor does not provide feedback, frequently misses appointments, or is consistently discouraging of your work, contact your graduate program advisor and ask for a new supervisor. The relationship with your supervisor is crucial to your success, especially if she or he is on your committee, and while your supervisor does not have to be friendly, there should at least be professional respect between you.
What to Do If a Crisis Strikes
If something happens in your life that disrupts everything (e.g., emotional strain, the birth of a child, or the death of a family member), ask for help. You are a human being, and personal lives can and do change without warning. Do not wait until you are falling apart before asking for help, either. Learn what resources exist for crises before you have one, so you can head off trauma before it hits. That being said, if you get blindsided, don't refuse help. Seek it out, and take the time you need to recover. Your degree is supposed to help you become a stronger and smarter person, not break you.
Part 6: Polish and Defend Your Master's Thesis
How to write a master’s thesis: the final stages.
After your work is done and everything is written down, you will have to give your thesis a good, thorough polishing. This is where you will have to organize the information, draft it into a paper format with an abstract, and abbreviate things to help meet your word-count limit. This is also where your final editing and proofreading passes will occur, after which you will face your final hurdle: presenting your thesis defense to your committee. If they approve your thesis, then congratulations! You are now a master of your chosen field.
Conclusion and Parting Thoughts
Remember that you do not (and should not) have to learn how to write a master’s thesis on your own. Thesis writing is collaborative, as is practically any kind of research.
While you will be expected to develop your thesis using your own initiative, pursue it with your own ambition, and complete it with your own abilities, you will also be expected to use all available resources to do so. The purpose of a master's thesis is to help you develop your own independent abilities, ensuring that you can drive your own career forward without constantly looking to others to provide direction. Leaders get master's degrees. That's why many business professionals in leadership roles have graduate degree initials after their last names. If you already have the skills necessary to motivate yourself, lead others, and drive change, you may only need your master's as an acknowledgement of your abilities. If you do not, but you apply yourself carefully and thoroughly to the pursuit of your thesis, you should come away from your studies with those skills in place.
A final thought regarding collaboration: all theses have a section for acknowledgements. Be sure to say thank you to those who helped you become a master. One day, someone might be doing the same for you.
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Tips for Writing Your Thesis Statement 1. Determine what kind of paper you are writing: An analytical paper breaks down an issue or an idea into its component parts, evaluates the issue or idea, and presents this breakdown and evaluation to the audience. An expository (explanatory) paper explains something to the audience.
You can write your thesis statement by following four simple steps: Start with a question Write your initial answer Develop your answer Refine your thesis statement Table of contents What is a thesis statement? Placement of the thesis statement Step 1: Start with a question Step 2: Write your initial answer Step 3: Develop your answer
A thesis statement . . . Makes an argumentative assertion about a topic; it states the conclusions that you have reached about your topic. Makes a promise to the reader about the scope, purpose, and direction of your paper. Is focused and specific enough to be "proven" within the boundaries of your paper.
The writing process looks different for everyone, but there are five basic steps that will help you structure your time when writing any kind of text. Table of contents Step 1: Prewriting Step 2: Planning and outlining Step 3: Writing a first draft Step 4: Redrafting and revising Step 5: Editing and proofreading
Steps in Constructing a Thesis First, analyze your primary sources. Look for tension, interest, ambiguity, controversy, and/or complication. Does the author contradict himself or herself? Is a point made and later reversed? What are the deeper implications of the author's argument?
plain the basic features of thesis writing process (García & Fombona, 2015). De-scriptive method is very useful in providing basic summaries of the chapters (Al-Raqqad et al., 2017). The following are the process of PhD thesis writing process. 4.1. Introduction Writing Process An introduction is the most difficult parts of a PhD thesis. The ...
The Writing Process. These OWL resources will help you with the writing process: pre-writing (invention), developing research questions and outlines, composing thesis statements, and proofreading. While the writing process may be different for each person and for each particular assignment, the resources contained in this section follow the ...
Thesis - The Writing Process - Pilgrim Library at Defiance College The Writing Process Tips for each of the various parts/stages of the writing process. Developing an Effective Thesis 1 of 9 Developing a thesis statement from Pilgrim Library
A Complete Guide to the Writing Process: 6 Stages of Writing. Every writer works in a different way. Some writers work straight through from beginning to end. Others work in pieces they arrange later, while others work from sentence to sentence. Understanding how and why you write the way you do allows you to treat your writing like the job it ...
The writing aspect of research is easily underestimated. It takes place through the entire project, from the initial proposal, through the keeping of a laboratory notebook, to the initial and final drafts of the thesis itself. Writing is part of the conceptualizing and analysis of subject matter. Packaging. Packaging the thesis takes time.
STEPS OF A BASIC ESSAY I. Introduction (establishes the paper's topic) A. Opening statements (Sentences containing some general comments about the subject at hand) B. Thesis Statement (1-2 sentences saying what the paper is about and how it will be broken down. Whatever points are specified here will be reiterated in the Body in the *same
"The Writing Process" image was created by Sarah M. Lacy. The most important lesson to understand about the writing process, is that it is recursive, meaning that you need to move back and forth between some or all of the steps; there are many ways to approach this process. ... A working thesis is different than the thesis found in a final ...
Steps in writing a Thesis First, think about good topics and theories that you can write before writing the thesis, then pick a topic. The topic or thesis statement is derived from a review of existing literature in the area of study that the researcher wants to explore. This route is taken when the unknowns in an area of study are not yet defined.
Step 1: Prewriting. Make sure you understand your assignment. See Research Papers or Essays. Decide on a topic to write about. See Prewriting Strategies and Narrow your Topic. Consider who will read your work. See Audience and Voice. Brainstorm ideas about the subject and how those ideas can be organized.
This is the process of implementing all the changes you noted during the editing process. Proofreading your final draft The last stage of the writing process is proofreading your final draft. At this stage, you're finished writing, but you're not quite ready to hand in your assignment.
Conclusions. The nursing students' expectations included present and future competencies, skills and abilities. In promoting development of transferable skills and knowledge, educators of future health-care professionals would be well advised to invite students to reflect on and discuss, their expectations prior to writing a bachelor's thesis and similar academic student papers.
A good thesis statement will usually include the following four attributes: take on a subject upon which reasonable people could disagree deal with a subject that can be adequately treated given the nature of the assignment express one main idea assert your conclusions about a subject
The thesis is an opportunity to work independently on a research project of your own design and contribute to the scholarly literature in your field. You emerge from the thesis process with a solid understanding of how original research is executed and how to best communicate research results.
This handout describes what a thesis statement is, how thesis statements work in your writing, and how you can craft or refine one for your draft. ... A thesis is the result of a lengthy thinking process. Formulating a thesis is not the first thing you do after reading an essay assignment. Before you develop an argument on any topic, you have ...
This answer has been confirmed as correct and helpful. Rhed°88. The topic sentence of each paragraph should support the thesis statement of the composition. -best describes the relationship between thesis statements and topic sentences within a writing composition. Added 3 minutes 22 seconds ago|2/27/2023 10:07:36 PM.
Thesis/Dissertation Writing Series: How to Write a Literature Review Choosing a general thesis topic is relatively easy, but deciding on specific and realistic research questions requires considerable thought and extensive enquiry. The dissertation literature review is one of the most demanding tasks in the thesis writing process.
A thesis tells the reader what the paper will prove. An essay has different types of paragraphs: introduction (introductory paragraph) - gives a background and states the thesis. The topic sentence of an introductory paragraph is called the thesis and belongs at the end of the first paragraph.
4. Use ChatGPT to write the actual essay. Now, for the part you have been waiting for: Yes, you can ask ChatGPT to write the essay for you. It is worth noting that if you take the text directly ...
This is a universal and fully comprehensive 6-paragraph argument essay workbook. The writing process is broken into 3, easy-to-grade steps. Each include instructions and sample writing for each step: Step 1: Prewrite (Vocabulary, finding a topic, researching sources, finding reliable quotations, MLA works cited page) Step 2: Rough Draft (6 ...